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   Conferences /The Ninth General Conference:Islam And The West Past - Present - Future
The Minister's Introduction

The world is no longer a number of isolated islands, the inhabitants of which are pre-occupied solely with their own affairs Should any nation in the world of today believe that it can isolate itself from other nations and that it will never need their assistance or cooperation, the other nations will not allow it to do so, since every nation is obliged to deal with other nations in the same way that an individual cannot live alone in any community, isolated from his countrymen.
Since establishing relations with other nations in the world of today is essential, it follows one of two courses; either relations founded upon a basis of cooperation for the welfare of both parties or contention and conflict over land, material benefits and strategic bases etc.
The nations of the world have wearied of wars and now pursue the course of peace and cooperation is imperative for the real nation of this goal. Different methods of cooperation must accordingly be followed in order to achieve the peace which all nations desire.
In order to accomplish cooperation, there must exist a basis of mutual understanding and consideration between the two parties, by which each party acknowledges the rights and interests of the other party. The Qur'an emphasizes this matter which is the basis upon which positive and effective relations of cooperation can be established, in which the rights and interests of all parties are recognized and safeguarded: "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other". (49 / 13.)
The Ninth General Conference of The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs is thus entitled: "The Relations between Islam and the Western World in The Past, The Present and The Future". The Conference aims at the advancement of the channels of dialogue between both parties in addition to consolidating the fundamental principles of mutual cooperation.
The existence of cultural relation between the civilizations of Islam and the Western World is a fast that cannot be denied and there are more aspects of agreement and accord than disagreement and discord in these relations. Such a situation calls for sparing no effort in attempting to dispel misunderstanding and preconceived conclusions and judgement by both parties, in order to pave the way for a constructive dialogue and fruitful cooperation which is m the interest of both parties and also contributes to the establishment of the principles of peace on earth.
The issues discussed in The Conference are.
The First Issue:
The historical factors in the relations between Islam and The Western World.
The Second Issue:
Islam's rulings regarding non Muslims in Muslim communities and The Western World's attitude towards Muslims in Western communities.
The Third Issue:
The future promotion of dialogue between Muslims and The West.
The Ninth General Conference of The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, held under the auspices of President Muhammed Hosni Mubarak has undoubtedly, assisted us, strengthened our resolution and us to increase our efforts to attain the desired goal.
It is with great pleasure that we present the following pages which include detailed accounts of the sessions held, and the research papers delivered during The Conference, for the benefit of those who did not have the opportunity to attend The Conference and participate in its sessions. Many sectors of the public and interested organizations will thereby have the opportunity to study the research papers delivered during the Conference all of which will create a solid foundation for further progress in this field. All concerned will continue to strive to accomplish this aim for the benefit of all mankind which is the paramount goal.
May God Almighty bless our efforts.
Professor: Mahmoud Hamdy Zaqzouq. Ph. D.
Minster of Awqaf
chairman of The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
Rabi Al Awal 1418.H. July, 1997 A.D.

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